Reserve residences are homes on a reserve where Indigenous people live. They are an essential part of First Nations communities, and the lives of their members, but they are also a source of tension between First Nations and the government at both provincial and federal levels.
Reserves, often referred to as Indian reserves, were created in the 1800s with the intention of providing housing for Indigenous people. They were a part of the Crown’s responsibilities to its new Indian wards, but they were often shoddily built on a small government budget.
They were often placed in rural and remote areas, with few resources or opportunities for economic development, which left many Indians impoverished. In addition, they were often located in areas of limited or no tourism or recreational activity.
These conditions often resulted in Aboriginal people being deprived of opportunities, and they were also a cause of a number of social problems. For example, they faced a great deal of discrimination and were unable to access basic services like education and healthcare.
In modern times, many of these issues have been addressed by governments in Canada and elsewhere, but there are still a number of barriers for First Nations residents living on reserves. For instance, many of them do not own their lands, which are held in trust by the Crown, so they have no legal rights to them.
They also face more restrictions than private land owners on developing their lands. They are often intersected by government rights-of-way, such as power transmission lines, railways and highways, reducing their useable space and making them more difficult to develop.
The federal government has recognized that many of these obstacles exist and has taken steps to improve the living conditions for First Nations residents on reserves. The following are some of the main programs and initiatives that are being implemented across Canada:
1. Income assistance on-reserve (ISC) – This program provides financial assistance for eligible people who live on a reserve. It is intended to help them move from dependency and into self-sufficiency, helping them gain a better quality of life.
2. Community infrastructure – This program supports the development of infrastructure such as schools, roads and waste management facilities on reserve. It is aimed at improving the infrastructure of First Nations communities and ensuring their continued success.
3. Employment & training – This program offers employment and training opportunities for First Nations residents. It is a key component of Canada’s efforts to help Indigenous peoples develop their skills and earn a living.
4. Health & medical – This program provides health care to First Nations residents. It includes services for women, children and families as well as mental health services, physiotherapy, drug counselling, medical equipment, emergency services and more.
5. Environmental – This program encourages the sustainable use of natural resources, such as fish and timber. It is also committed to ensuring that Indigenous peoples have access to clean water.
6. Other services – This program provides additional services to First Nations and their communities. It includes family and child services, on-reserve income assistance, Jordan’s Principle, urban programs and support for Inuit children.